What is Sine Die?
All bills that did not reach a status of Enacted, Vetoed, or Failed by the time the legislature adjourns are considered “Sine Die - Failed”. That is, since the legislature has adjourned “without day”, there is no opportunity for further activity to occur on that bill, and it is effectively “Failed”.
Why is a bill Sine Die - Failed?
Many bills and resolutions do not complete all the stages of activity necessary for enactment. Perhaps a bill remained in committee for the entire session. Or maybe a bill passed one chamber without adequate time to receive a vote in the other chamber of a bicameral legislature. Whatever the reason, many bills simply lose the momentum needed to carry them through the entire legislative process.
These bills that are stuck in the legislative process therefore lack an explicit indication of failure, such as a governor’s veto or vote-down in a chamber. Legislatures interpret bills that cannot complete the legislative process prior to the end of session as bills that failed by Sine Die, or Sine Die - Failed. In other words, these bills did not achieve the necessary approval of the legislature within the time allotted for legislative activity.
Determining bill status can be challenging because legislatures do not adhere to a uniform standard for recording bills as Sine Die - Failed. Some legislatures explicitly indicate that a bill is Sine Die - Failed, while others do not. To account for differences in each state and more accurately represent the status of legislation, all measures will remain in their last status after the legislature has adjourned Sine Die for the first session of a biennium. Some measures may no longer receive activity in the second session of a biennium but FiscalNote will not apply a ‘Sine Die - Failed’ status to any legislative measure until the end of the biennium or annual session.
How does it work?
Biannual Legislative Sessions: Legislation will remain in its last status after adjournment Sine Die by the legislature at the end of the first session of a biennium legislative session. The status of legislation will change to ‘Sine Die - Failed’ after adjournment Sine Die of the full two-year legislative period.
Biennial Legislative Sessions: The status of legislation will change to ‘Sine Die - Failed’ after adjournment Sine Die of the regular session in the first year of the biennial. Legislatures with biennial legislative sessions do not meet in the second year for a regular session.
Annual Legislative Sessions: The status of legislation will change to ‘Sine Die - Failed’ after adjournment of the regular session.